U.S. Conventional Forces and Nuclear Deterrence: A China Case Study [August 11, 2006] [open pdf - 150KB]
"The analysis that follows seeks to explore the possible role that U.S. nuclear and conventional forces might play in four stages of potential conflicts: deterrence, prior to the start of the conflict; crisis stability in the early stages of the conflict; warfighting during the height of the conflict; and war termination, through either a negotiated settlement or a battlefield victory. This report highlights a number of policy issues that may bear consideration in the ongoing debate regarding military investments. For example, this report suggests that nuclear and conventional military capabilities can simultaneously have positive effects on deterrence or warfighting and negative effects on crisis stability or war termination objectives. Therefore, changes in military force structure or capabilities to improve deterrence, for example, should consider potential effects on crisis stability, for example. Further, investments in military capabilities that may positively contribute to all potential stages of military conflict (e.g. deterrence, crisis stability, warfighting, and war termination), might be preferred to investments that have a mixed effect on the potential range of conflict."
CRS Report for Congress, RL33607